|Women’s Super League Grand Final|
|Venue: Manchester Regional Arena Date: Saturday, 13 October Kick-off: 13:00 BST|
Leeds Rhinos are hoping to add the Grand Final trophy to their Challenge Cup and League Leaders’ honours to complete a treble success for 2018.
Standing in their way are a Wigan side with whom the Rhinos shared a win apiece in the regular season.
Saturday’s Grand Final in Manchester will see a new name added to the trophy regardless of the winner.
“It’d be outstanding and exciting to win a treble,” Leeds head coach Adam Cuthbertson told BBC Radio Leeds.
“I think the girls have already represented the club really well and put women’s rugby on the map this year regardless.
“But the Grand Final is the biggie and it would be the icing on the cake for us.”
The latest chapter in Leeds’ local rivalry with Castleford produced a 24-10 semi-final success, as the Tigers failed to take revenge for their Challenge Cup final defeat.
Meanwhile, Wigan progressed to the Grand Final with a 10-6 derby victory against St Helens.
From wickets to whacks
One of Leeds’ key playmakers, Courtney Hill, has had an unusual route to the game of rugby league.
Despite playing as a junior in her native Australia, for much of her career Hill was most likely to play on the other side of the Headingley stadium with a red Duke rather than a white Rhino ball.
“I’m a former cricketer, but I’m enjoying my rugby,” Hill, who is in England with her partner, told the Rhinos website.
“Cricket days are gone for me now, so it was simply looking for a new challenge, and rugby league it was.
“It’s been an amazing season, we want the treble. To be league leaders is wonderful, but to perform in pressure situations such as finals, it separates the good from the best.”
New club, new horizons
Wigan, like Leeds, lost just two games this season and only a draw denied them an identical record.
It has been an impressive introduction from the Warriors following their creation and subsequent squad development last winter.
Initial expectations have been surpassed tenfold.
“At the start, we really didn’t think we’d come so far in such a short space of time,” head coach Angela Wilkinson told the Rugby Football League.
“Over 100 girls turned up for trials, but to start from scratch, to building a squad of 28 that have taken us all the way to the Grand Final – that was never in my thoughts.
“I just didn’t want us to finish bottom this year, and we’ve ended up one point off top spot.”
Proud Cherry and White
England international Gemma Walsh never had the opportunity to play for the club she supports, until the Wigan side was started up last year.
Now she has captained her team to a showpiece final, and has high hopes for a fine spectacle when the league’s one and two compete for the big prize on Saturday.
“At the beginning of the season we didn’t know what to expect, being a new team,” said Walsh.
“But as the season has gone on we’ve progressed, improved and there’s a really good team spirit.
“We’ve shocked a few people, gone about stuff quite quietly, but it’s probably the two best teams that are in the Grand Final, and it should be a good game.”